NEW TO HULU! Good thrillers keep you off your feet and on your toes. Edward Drake’s American Siege placed Bruce Willis right on the shifting sands of small-town politics and corruption while keeping us guessing about who’s good and who’s bad.
Our tale opens with a trio of gun-wielding people doing it home-invasion-style against the local physician, Dr. Keats (Cullen G. Chambers). The assailants are tough guys Toby (Johann Urb), Grace (Anna Hindman), and Roy (Rob Gough), but it’s not money they’re looking for but the whereabouts of Grace’s sister, Brigit. It appears that Dr. Keats got her involved in some questionable activities. Still, they don’t know it involves the dangerous Charles Rutledge (Timothy V. Murphy), who has the town’s sheriff, Ben Watts (Bruce Willis), in his pocket, as well as his son, officer Kyle (Trevor Gretzky), by his side.
Let’s be honest about indie action movies. They are expensive. Safety and insurance alone will break any production. So, you’ve got to get the biggest bang for your buck. Director Edward Drake and co-writer Corey Large give us a brief action tease with the invasion upfront and then puts all the pawns in place for the big confrontation at the end.
In the opening scene of American Siege, Toby, Grace, and Roy are brutal. Grace goes in first and promptly kills a few security officers. They are desperate and crazy. They torture Dr. Keats to give up what he knows about Brigit in hopes that their actions will flush out the guy in charge, Rutledge.
“They torture Dr. Keats…in hopes that their actions will flush out the guy in charge…”
On the other hand, Rutledge has to move fast as the FBI are on their way to Dr. Keats’ residence to investigate the hostage situation. Rutledge first sends in Sheriff Watts, who begins to suspect Rutledge of something much more sinister than he ever thought possible. As Rutledge gets desperate, he and his goons lay siege on Keats’ home.
While the major studios have the corner on big action movies, American Siege does a lot for what it has to work with. Most of the action is gunplay and hand-to-hand fighting. I like that it is bloody and brutal. The action moves smoothly and quickly with good storytelling to build the right tension between our heroes and villains. But in the end, a bigger budget would have made things feel… well, much bigger than it currently stands.
Regarding the story between the action, there is a mystery at play. Though, as an audience member, I like to take part in solving the clues laid before us, here, the reveal is peeled back slowly and mostly through exposition. As our heroes extract the truth about Brigit, pressure mounts as Rutledge presses in.
We have to talk about Bruce Willis. We now know the reason he’s been appearing in a lot of indie action, and American Siege makes good use of him. His role is meaty, and he’s integral to the storyline. He makes his presence felt, and that’s exactly what we want from a big star in an indie film.
As an indie thriller, American Siege does what it needs to accomplish in building tension. The filmmakers bring us into a town where everyone is compromised one way or the other, which causes the town to implode.
American Siege is now available on Hulu.
"…good storytelling to build the right tension between our heroes and villains."